No joy for depleted Yellamen in 2-1 defeat

Ascot United were edged out 2-1 by promotion-chasing Marlow on Saturday. Despite having decent spells, the threadbare Yellamen found themselves 2-0 down before scoring a late consolation that ultimately failed to ignite a grandstand finale.

Depleted ranks face tough ask

The Yellamen saw six players leave the field in last weekend’s farcical match against Westfield where they had ended with seven players on the pitch, including defender Dan Bailey in goal, so the question for the travelling masses was what sort of starting line-up they would be able to name; young ‘keeper Sam Hayes ultimately stepping in for the suspended Mark Scott.

Second-place Marlow would need a seismic downturn in form to jeopardize their play-off spot, but playing for home advantage is still a motivation, as was the fact for Ascot that they knew the hosts had lost as many home games as anyone else in the top half of the table.

Yellamen play well but gift Marlow the lead

After a tepid opening ten minutes, the game threatened to spring to life when Benjamin Mulley rattled Hayes’s crossbar with a rasping effort from outside the area, although Josh Edwards did the same at the other end with a looping header from Harry Grant’s cross that cannoned back of the crossbar; home ‘keeper Aaron Watkins beaten.

Nathan Jones then played in Mulley who ran unchallenged through a midfield hole only to shoot straight at Hayes, although Marlow rarely looked like a side in second place.

Ascot then enjoyed a good spell of pressure as Chris Ellis’s header from Olie Harris’s free kick deflected narrowly over for a corner, but Marlow and their often hapless attempts to play out of their own area went unpunished.

And after Naheer Nawaf’s cross-shot had fizzed wide of the left-and post, Marlow were gifted an opener when Josh Boorn picked up Hayes’s poor attempted clearance and put the ball on a plate for Dawid Rogalski to convert from a central position.

Taylor Morgan almost responded immediately for Ascot but his goal-bound shot was charged away by Sebastian D’Aversa’s fantastic covering tackle.

Sedate second half

Watkins survived an almighty goal-mouth scramble three minutes after the restart with Ascot unable to poke the ball into the net amidst a melee, and after that very little happened until Usman Lalustani limped off at the midpoint of the half.

Ex-Yellamen Josh Masters then fired a 75th minute free kick through Hayes’s hands and into the left-hand corner to give his side a two-goal cushion, although Ascot cut the arrears two minutes later with a well-worked goal. Taylor Morgan’s neat lay-off set Harris bounding down the left, and although Liam Tack miscued his first-time effort from Harris’s cross, he was still able to get the ball out of his feet to McCormack in space on the left, and he squeezed a low shot across Watkins and into the bottom left.

But it was Marlow who created most of the chances after that as Hayes beat Mulley’s free kick away, substitute Curtis Chapple then fell over as he shaped to shoot what surely would have been a third goal moments later, before then firing narrowly wide; all within a three minute spell.

Ascot’s last chance came from Ellis’s long throw-in deep into stoppage time but Harris rushed and consequent dragged wide a half-chance when the ball broke to him at the far post.

The majority of the 320-strong crowd on non-league day went home happy, although they will know their side must raise their own game if they are to avoid defeat in the play-offs.

What’s next for Ascot?

The Yellamen fly out to Guernsey on Easter Saturday before entertaining Uxbridge two days later.

Ascot United: Hayes, Lahtinen-Kalsi,  Mcleod (Lock 78’), Tack, Ellis, Edwards, McCormack, H. Grant, T. Morgan, O. Harris, Lalustani (Mason 67’). Subs unused: Bailey, Sykes, Tucker

Entertainment: 2

Reporter’s Star Man: Chris Ellis (Ascot United)

Away fans (estimate): 50.




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